New York Film Festival 55 Review: ‘The Florida Project’ shines.

Set over one summer, the film follows precocious 6-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Disney World.

Sean Baker‘s The Florida Project is easily in my top 5 films at this year’s NYFF. The entire film is so organic with an almost documentary-style feel. The story revolves around an often overlooked segment of the country; one that we tend to dismiss as low-class. The viewing experience is akin to being a fly on the wall during events we cannot unsee. Completely irreverent and oozing with charm, it’s also a film about children but not for children. Lazy summer days and trying to entertain themselves, more alone than in the presence of proper adult supervision, the children explore and wreak havoc on tourists and locals alike. The genuine chemistry between Willem Dafoe and rambunctious newcomer Brooklyn Prince is what makes The Florida Project so perfect. Dafoe becomes a universal father figure and will no doubt remind you what a chameleon he truly is onscreen. Bria Vinaite (Also a complete unknown until now) as Halley is frighteningly all too familiar, and I do mean that as a compliment. Her relationship with Moonee is as awkwardly earnest as it is heartbreaking. Our spitfire, six-year-old Prince steals every scene with her natural curiously and sass. She will not be contained. Sean Baker‘s use of real-life vibrantly colored backdrops screams for attention against the energy pouring from the entire cast of misbehaving children. You will be laughing out loud from the very first scene and find yourself completely engrossed in the lives of these characters. I will be putting forth a mighty effort come awards season on behalf of The Florida Project, as it deserves the widest audience possible.

 

Opens in New York and Los Angeles on October 6, 2017

(followed by nationwide expansion)

Directed By: Sean Baker
Written By: Sean Baker and Chris Bergoch
Produced By: Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch, Kevin Chinoy, Andrew Duncan, Alex
Starring: Saks, Francesca Silvestri, Shih-Ching Tsou
Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince, Valeria Cotto and Bria Vinaite
Release Date: October 6, 2017 (NY & LA); Expansion to follow
Running Time: 115mins
Rating: R
Website: http://floridaproject.movie/

 

About Liz Whittemore

Liz grew up in northern Connecticut and was memorizing movie dialogue from Shirley Temple to A Nightmare on Elm Street at a very early age. She will watch just about any film all the way through (no matter how bad) just to prove a point. A loyal New Englander, a lover of Hollywood, and true inhabitant of The Big Apple.

One Reply to “New York Film Festival 55 Review: ‘The Florida Project’ shines.”

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